Reality Check: "Am I Dreaming?"

A totem was used to distinguish dream from reality in the film Inception.

reality check (RC) is an action that is impossible in reality, but possible in dreams. Attempting them trains your brain to be able to think inside of a dream.

Most of us go throughout our day on autopilot, rarely taking time to notice or contemplate what is really happening. In order to become more lucid in our dreams, we must become more lucid in our waking life.

RCs are the easiest way to start observing and thoughtfully analyzing our reality. They provide a step back moment, allowing us to see if what is happening is a dream or reality.

We will typically have our first lucid dream experienc when we realize that something is strange in the dream, allowing us to notice that it isn't real and become lucid. 

Here are few different RCs that you can try out:

a) Write the letter "A" on the palm of your hand with a pen. Look at your hand frequently throughout the day to make sure that you still have a letter "A". If it changes or is not there, ask yourself if you are dreaming.

b) Pushing your finger through a wall. This is one of the easiest RCs. Try pushing your finger through any solid object like a ghost would be able to. If you are successful, you are dreaming!

c) Glance at a specific word on a sign, book, etc. Now look away for a second. Look back at that same word. Is it still the same word? Has it changed at all? If it has changed, ask yourself "Am I dreaming?"

d) Try to fly. If you can take off like Superman, it's a dead giveaway that you're dreaming.

e) Plug your nose and mouth. Can you still breathe? In your dreams you are able to breathe in every situation, even when you are underwater.

To become more lucid in your dreams, become more lucid in your waking life.

Next Steps

1. Choose a RC that resonates with you. Something that will be easy for you to do discreetly throughout the day.

2. Now that you've picked or created your own, attempt it at least 15 times per day (that's basically once every hour you're awake). This may sound like a lot, but it doesn't take more than a few seconds and it will be discreet.

3. Set an alarm or timer to remind yourself throughout the day. There are also apps that you can download for this specific purpose. I use Awoken.

4. Each time you do a reality check, ask yourself, "am I dreaming?" Really analyze the situation. If you don't put any thought into this, it won't be effective and you're wasting your time. Truly be critical of the situation. How did you get to where you are now? Is this something that is normal? Can you prove that you are not in a dream?

5. The next time you catch yourself in a dream and say "Holy crap, I'm in a DREAM!" it will all be worth it.

› Reality Checks

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